Dunaway Law April 2019

April 2019


One Perimeter Park South, Suite 100 North, Birmingham, AL 35243 • 205.705.3590 • MatthewDunaway.com

Reality Check It Sounds Great, but Is It Good?

Recently, I decided to make my law office paperless. A lot of businesses are going paperless, and since I’m just a small, one- man show, I figured I could go paperless pretty easily. Turns out I was very wrong. I’ve tried to go paperless several times, in several different ways, and while I’ve been able to dramatically reduce the amount of paper I use, there are still stacks of paper at my office. Ultimately, I had to accept two things. First, I will always have paper. And second, all the paper is actually good; it helps with my workflow and productivity. This won’t be the case for everyone, but I’ve found that, no matter how good going paperless sounds, it’s not the best practice for my business. This led me to reflect on the phenomenon of theory versus reality. There are a lot of things in life that sound like a great idea. On paper, they just make sense. But in practice, they don’t always work out, because life is messy. Take credit cards, for example. In theory, the rewards credit cards offer are great. We all have to spend money anyway, so why not get cash back or points to our favorite stories or airline miles while we’re doing it? However, the reality is very different for most people. While a small minority may be able to enjoy the rewards without complication, for most people, the rewards are just bait to get them trapped in a bottomless pit of debt. It is uncomfortably easy to lose sight of our goals in favor of chasing theories that sound good. Our society is teaching us that

It’s important that we don’t let the theory of what’s good win out over the reality of what’s actually good for us. Sometimes, facing this reality means accepting certain truths about ourselves. I would love to work out for an hour every day. But if I did that, it would mean I’m not at the office when I need to be, or that I’m spending time at the gym instead of having dinner with my family. In theory, the “best” thing would be for me to work out every day. But in practice, is spending that kind of time at the gym really what’s best for my life? Whenever we’re faced with something that sounds great, we need to give ourselves a reality check. Sure, getting 2 percent back on groceries would be great, but will the interest rates come back to bite me? The bank says I’m qualified for this car loan, but will I be able to afford the monthly payments?

“It’s important that we don’t let the theory of what’s good win out over the reality of what’s actually good for us.”

there’s a “best” way to do everything. We’re supposed to ask “How can I ___ the best?” It doesn’t matter if we want to save money, eat better, exercise more, or strengthen our relationships; we should do it the best way. So, we do some research and look online for articles full of strategies that all sound great, but they rarely work out in practice. This is because theories of the “best” way to do things don’t take into account our unique situations. As a result, we get ourselves all twisted up trying to do it the best way that we lose sight of the simple pleasures in life and why we wanted to make this change in the first place.

Going paperless is smart, but is it something my business is capable of doing right now?

If we can recognize our reality before making a decision, we can save ourselves a lot of struggle in the future.

–Matt Dunaway 1 Phone: 205.705.3590

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